Get a mop and wipe it up!

Open Letter to John Key re Anti-Smacking Referendum

, posted: 2-Jul-2009 22:51

Dear Mr Key

In April 2007, you wrote a letter to all parties in which you said:

"I simply believe it is bad law for Parliament to pass a piece of legislation outlawing an activity absolutely, and then expect the Police not to prosecute minor breaches."

After your unpopular u-turn to compromise with Labour and support a "bad law" (by your own definition), you, Sue Bradford and others are trying to diffuse the issue (by complaining about the question and claiming that the "law is working") and dismiss the result, even before we've voted.

A far more prudent stance would be for the government to announce that a majority "NO" vote would be regarded as a clear mandate to replace the "bad law" with the Chester Borrows' amendment that was proposed in 2007, but you lacked the numbers in Parliament to achieve. This would
  • avoid National inheriting the "Nanny State" mantle from Labour,
  • earn you kudos for listening to the public, and
  • remove from good parents the fear of State kidnapping of their children.

We're waiting to see if this is the first government that listens to the people (other than at election time).


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Comment by simon14, on 3-Jul-2009 20:04

It is illegal to hit an adult, why shouldn't it be illegal to hit your child?
You gotta draw the line somewhere and there is no point making it confusing.

Author's note by dmw, on 3-Jul-2009 22:33

It is illegal to beat your child. That hasn't changed. And most parents know the difference between beating and smacking. (That is one of the tests of good parenting.)

It should be legal to correct your children -- physically if necessary. It should not be a matter for the Police or CYFS, as long as any physical correction is limited to smacking. (See the Borrows' amendment, if you need a limit spelled out, to draw a line between beating and smacking.)

It is legal to correct an adult using force, if necessary. Eg in a citizen's arrest. Handcuffs are a physical form of correction.

The question really comes down to one of philosophy.

If you want increased State control over individuals -- as Sue Bradford does -- then you should vote "yes". (This is the team that believes the government should tell you what to eat, what to wear, what light bulbs to buy, how to travel to work, what shower nozzle to use, etc.)

If you value freedom from State interference, vote "no".

Comment by cyberhub, on 6-Jul-2009 15:24

Hi David,
Really good post, you summed it up really well.  The thing that guttered me about the whole thing was when polls were done something like 80% of people thought it was ok smack your child was ok.

However the powers that be decided that they know better than 80% of the population and passed the law anyhow.

I am looking forward to the referendum.


Comment by Mike Mckee, on 25-Jul-2009 17:48

I wrote to John key this morning and asked him to discuss over his dinner table with Bronagh and the kids my statement.

"A smack from a loving parent to an errant child is and never has been assault".

John Key either made an error of Judgement by politiking this law change.

or Deliberatly wanted to stop smacking but couldn't tell us that this was his real position.

or He and his entire caucus didn't apply their minds to the legal reality this would put ordinary Kiwi parents in.

Either way they clearly didn't do their job properly or they have lied by omission/avoidance.

That makes them hypocites too.

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David White
New Zealand

Goon fan, .NET developer, contrarian seeker of truth